Many math.SE users idolize the magic pair of dollar signs that can draw many nice things, including superscripts. Of course, I don’t refute general usefulness of MathJax, but there are several clownages routinely performed with it on this site. One of these clownages is motivated by a belief that the degree sign (°) is a kind of superscripted character. Such typography “masters” chose some round character: either the Latin letter “o”, or the composition sign “∘” encoded with
\circ (that bears an insightful connotation), and place it after the superscript command
^. Is it correct or wise?
~~~ A NIST page on non-SI units: ~~~
degree (angle) ° 1° = ($\pi$/180) rad
Nothing about superscripts, you see. Only the U+00B0 symbol.
~~~ A table from the Chicago Manual of Style: ~~~
° Degree 00B0
Also nothing about superscripts. Although the table suggests the “\degree” command missing from MathJax, there are no troubles with inserting literal U+00B0 character into a MathJax code; see example below.
Any more references needed, really?
Now let’s compare how it looks:
Plain text: 180°
Under MathJax: $180°$
^\circ clownage: $180^\circ$
IMHO any reasonable person should, by now, conclude that the last variant is the worst-legible one. But indeed, we see some persons from StackExchange who learned that they can draw some resemblance of degree symbol using ASCII cheats, are proud with their “valuable” knowledge, and tend to apply their “fixes” where fixes are already done.
Guys, if you want to fix, then do it, please, where severe mistakes are present or typography is really awful. Don’t stalk my (Incnis Mrsi’s) edits – a random math.SE person has a very slim chance to improve any typography after me. Now, expectedly, “very experienced contributors” and “content quality experts” will pile on with downvotes, whereas I predict that all the mob won’t produce more than one or two (confused and not convincing) objections, verbally, to my arguments.